- From: "Jack Denver" <nunuvyer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2009 17:14:28 -0400
I'd tend to agree with you there - even for its original $200 retail price point they've got to produce the thing for somewhere in the vicinity of $50 manufacturing cost - that's a whole lot of "stuff" to make on a $50 budget - case, electronics, pump, thermoblock w. heating element, some kind of motor to raise & lower the head, the "group" and "portafilter", switches, wiring, etc. You can put one together to the point where it works when it leaves the factory but is it going to stand up to use? Not likely. That seems to be the gist of the reviews - people like them initially but then then break in a few months - the brewing cup no longer latches onto the head, the sensor that detects the presence of the cup doesn't sense, the electronics get flaky, etc . The system is only as strong as it's weakest point - one cheap plastic latch, one bad sensor, one bad solder joint on a board and the device is ready for the trash. The "smart" electronics keep you from using it in less than perfect order. The 3 year warranty was pretty brave, although when the going got rough (too many claims) they apparently just pulled the plug and gave people a credit - they don't make any other cup at a time device so you're credit is not worth much unless you are in need of one of their other products.
The history of the Cuisinart company itself follows that course - originally they made super high quality products (food processors) built for them by the inventor of the FP, the Robot Coupe co. of France. Then they switched to what was then a cheaper source (but still pretty good) - Japan. And then the co. was sold by the founders and the new folks (formerly in the $10 hairdryer business) moved all the mfg. to their factories in China and starting putting the Cusinart name on all kinds of crappy junk. I have one of their FP's and there was a plastic "finger" that extended from the pusher on top as a safety interlock device. It was clearly too flimsy to withstand repeated use, especially by my kids, wife, etc. I epoxied it back together and it lasted a while. When I went to replace it when it broke again, I found out that they charge more for the parts than they do for a whole new machine at an outlet, so I got a new one. A few months later, the same "finger" broke. So this time I just wedged the safety switch closed permanently - I have no plans for sticking my hand into a running machine anyway.
But still the concept is interesting - if the thing really worked and held up it would be a useful device to have , as I said before a sort of poor man's Clover. That the Clover cost $11K to accomplish essentially the same thing shows how much cost they had to engineer out of this thing. It's great to bring luxury products to the masses - I just replaced my 5 year old 19" monitor and looked at the old invoice - I paid around $350 then, around $100 for the same thing today. But there is such a thing as a bridge too far in cost cutting and I suspect you are right that they crossed it here.
"bernie" <bdigman@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message news:5e061cdd-b8c1-424b-b8e7-8661a6dddd7c@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Hmmm. Just from the looks of it I would think the concept is good
but the execution is lacking. If I had a lot of time and a little
money I'd consider reverse-engineering the contraption and re-building
the unit with real metal, real pump, etc. One never knows what sort of
genius actually lies inside some of these cheaply made machines. There
must be uncounted numbers of these sorts of devices that are made in
circumstances that require cheap manufacturing methods to make it to
market. If you took a Porsche blueprint and produced the car in a
ratty Chinese factory you'd have a cheap, crappy car that didn't run.
Same with a La Marzocco or any other good design that is executed in
an environment where quality is the red-headed stepchild to economy.
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